Message from Father Langan, May 15-16

May 15-16

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We are coming to the culmination of the Easter season on this last Sunday before Pentecost.  Since Easter Sunday we have been reading in consecutive fashion from the Acts of the Apostles, tracing the development of the young Church.  Today’s passage records the first formal action of the Church in providing a replacement for the betrayer Judas.  From her very beginning, the Church was concerned about Apostolic Succession.  We affirm our belief in this divine truth every time we profess the Creed.  Apostolic Succession is necessary for the preservation of the Truth revealed to the Apostles by Our Lord and the lifeline for bringing Jesus’ Presence to us in His Word and Sacraments, most especially the Holy Eucharist and Holy Orders.  Bishops, the successors of the Apostles, are bound to preserve Christ’s teachings unaltered and unaffected by the faddish trends of the world.  To do otherwise would negate their authority and gravely jeopardize the salvation of their souls.  Daily prayers are necessary for our Bishops who have such spiritual and moral responsibility for the flocks entrusted to their care.

The Gospel brings us once again to the intimacy of the Upper Room on Holy Thursday night.  Our Lord speaks His final discourse to the Apostles and draws them by His Priestly Prayer into union with Our Heavenly Father.  They are moments away from exiting that quiet space and going to Gethsemane where the suffering begins in earnest.  They seem to quickly forget Our Lord’s word of comfort and solidarity and are caught up in the raucous around them; fear overcomes and all but one flee for their lives.   It seems that the pressures of the world have overcome, but in the end the Lord prevails.  It reminds us of how temporary trials and troubles are.  Rather than fleeing we need to remain close to Him Who gives the strength and courage to withstand it all.  This is why have the Advocate, the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit with us to conquer our fears and to remain steadfast in the Lord.  As we continue in our Novena to the Holy Spirit may we be confident that the Lord never abandons us and that in the long run He will conquer.

This Sunday our seventh graders will make their commitment to prepare diligently and faithfully for the reception of Confirmation next year on Pentecost.  May they also be assured to our prayers and spiritual support.

And on behalf of all our parishioners I wish to extend thanks to Judy Poltanis and the crew of Honesdale public works for their rapid response to our recent flood situation in St. John’s parking and their getting it back to normal.  And our thanks to Mike Cavage and his crew from Pioneer Construction who restored the bank and sidewalk that were severely damaged by the heavy rains.  We are most grateful.

Blessings to All,

Father Langan

Ascension Thursday Mass Schedule

Wednesday    May 12 (Vigil)  5:30pm                        St. John the Evangelist

Thursday        May 13            7:25am                        St. John the Evangelist

                                               12:05pm                      St. John the Evangelist

                                                5:30pm                       St. Bernard, Beach Lake

                                                6:00pm                        St. Joseph, Rileyville

Message from Father Langan, May 8-9

May 8-9

Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ:

As the final days of Paschaltide draw to its fulfillment we hear in today’s Scriptures the expansion of the Church amongst the Gentiles and the meaning of Christian love.  Nowadays it is necessary to designate authentic Christian love from that notion of love defined by the present day culture.  The love that Our Lord taught us is sacrificial, that is an emptying of ourselves for the eternal good of others.  Jesus makes it very clear that true love is based on following the commandments, just as He obeyed the Father.  Any other “love” is shallow, selfish and ultimately unfulfilling.  True, one must have a proper love for oneself as a child of God with a heavenly destiny.  This requires a well-balanced reverence for our unique and precious being in the eyes of our Creator.  What we see then in ourselves, we must see also in others and thus help each other to get to Heaven.

On this Mothers’ Day we give special thanks to our dear mothers, those living and those whom God has called to Himself, who selflessly sacrificed for us.  Their tender love for us is something we carry with us all our lives.  We, as people of faith, have been blessed to have not only our earthly mothers, but also our Blessed Mother Mary who ever watches watches over us and accompanies us on the journey to the Kingdom.

Mother of God and Mother of us all pray for us as we pray to You and lead us to Your Son.

Remember, that this Thursday we celebrate the Ascension of Our Lord to the Father’s right hand.  It is a Holy Day and Masses are scheduled in the bulletin beginning with 5:30pm Vigil Mass at St. John’s.  Please consult the bulletin for the remaining Masses.  On Friday, May 14th, we begin the Novena to the Holy Spirit.  Just as our Lady and the Apostles prayed for the coming of the Holy Spirit so also do we, with joyful expectation, implore His renewal of the Seven-fold gifts in our lives.

With Blessings,

Father Langan

Updated Mass Reservation Protocol

Effective immediately reservations are no longer required for all Masses. However, masks covering face and nose are still required to be worn during the entire Mass. Pews will continue to be marked to indicate appropriate physical distance from others.

Message from Father Langan, May 1 & 2

May 1 and 2

Dear Brother and Sisters in Christ,

The 50 days of Easter carry a special significance for those who have entered the Faith during the Great Feast.  This time is known as the Mystagogical catechesis, meaning: the handing on of the Mysteries of Faith.  Not everything studied and taught during the period of preparation for the reception of Sacraments can be comprehended BEFORE the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist.  It is only AFTER one is initiated that the Truths of the Faith become clearer and appreciated.  During the Mystagogy, the Neophytes (those who have received the Light) are exposed to the deeper realities of our spiritual and eternal life.  It is a time for further growth in the Faith.  We too can appreciate these days for our better understanding of the Sacred Mysteries.

In today’s Gospel, our Blessed Lord speaks with tenderness to those Apostles-to-be as He is about to enter His Passion.  The setting is the Upper Room at the Last Supper and He is giving His farewell discourse.  He reveals Himself as the Vine, the source of life and strength.  Have you ever noticed the nature of a vine?  It wraps around just about anything.  It goes where it wills.  It multiplies on its journey and it seems that nothing can stop it.  What a powerful image our Lord uses to describe Himself.  All secondary shoots draw their vitality from the main vine.  Their healthiness and strength depend upon their attachment to the Vine itself otherwise their renegade offshoots deplete their strength.  Thus, the need for pruning (the Sacrament of Reconciliation) is necessary in order to receive all that The Vine wishes to give us.

The month of May is dedicated to our Blessed Mother as the New Eve.  Our first mother’s disobedience brought dead into human history; our Blessed Mother, by her obedience, brought life.  We pay Her special honor this weekend at the beginning of Mass by our humble crowning of her image in all our churches.  May our love and devotion console Her Immaculate Heart as we implore Her assistance on our journey to Heaven.

Finally, may I ask those who generally attend the 10:30 Mass on Sundays to respond to this survey when you call to make your reservations.  Do you prefer to keep the Mass time at 10:30 on Sundays during the summer months – June, July, and August or shall we move it to 9:30 as we have been doing for the past several years?  Kindly make your preference known to our secretaries when you call by May 15th.  Following your input we shall announce the time chosen by the majority.  Thank you.

With Blessings

Father Langan

Daily Mass Schedule-Effective May 3

Beginning May 3, all daily Masses including the weekend Masses normally celebrated at St. Mary Magdalen will be celebrated in St. John the Evangelist while renovations are taking place in St. Mary Magdalen. Livestream will continue at the 5:30PM Mass on the vigil and 10:30AM on Sunday.

Message from Father Langan, April 24-25

April 24-25

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This fourth Sunday of Easter is known as Good Shepherd Sunday because our Blessed Lord reveals Himself as THE Good Shepherd.  He vigilantly watches over us, guides us in the right direction for our good, and willingly lays down His life for the salvation of us all.  He has gathered to Himself the Flock, which is the Church, and commissioned chosen men to follow His example in its care and nurturing.

When our Lord instructed Peter to “feed My sheep” He entrusted to the fisherman the great and grave responsibility to safeguard the truth of the Gospel and make it known to all four corners of the earth until the end of time.  To preach, to teach, to lead, and to sanctify is the awesome duty of those who are called to Holy Orders.

For those entrusted with this ministry the prayerful support of the faithful is absolutely crucial.  How very grateful are we servants of Christ for the loving and kind support we receive  from the people we serve.  But we also need many more men to give of themselves in service to the Church.  Families must foster vocations to the priesthood.  Parishioners need to pray ardently that young men will give themselves completely to Christ lest the flock perish from spiritual starvation.  Christ calls, Christ gives, but somebody has to respond.  On this Good Shepherd Sunday let us renew our commitment to pray for an increase of vocations to the priesthood.

With Blessings,

Father Langan

Message from Father Langan, April 17-18

April 17-18

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This joyful season is filled with many unique and important traditions of which people may be unaware or just add to the wonder of these blessed days.  Recently I was asked why the icon of St. Mary Magdalen has a prominent place in the Sanctuary and “what’s with the egg and perfume vial?”  I’m happy to satisfy the inquirer’s curiosity.  Mary Magdalen was as the early Church Fathers testify, the apostle of the apostles.  She was sent by our Risen Lord to inform them that He was alive and would soon meet them.  Mary took her witness to the Lord’s Resurrection very seriously and it did not cease with those locked-up in the Upper Room.  That witness began before Easter.  We recall the tenderness she extended to the Lord when washing His feet with her tears and drying with her hair, she then anoints the Savior’s feet with costly perfume and then retains the rest for His burial, hence the reason for the vial in her hand.

This brings us to the story of the red egg.  Long before the egg became closely entwined with Easter, it was associated with pagan rites-of-spring.  Romans, Gauls, Chinese, Eqyptians, and Persians all cherished the eggs as a symbol of new birth.  Because Christianity as a genius for readopting ancient practices the symbolism of the egg changed to represent, not nature’s rebirth, but the rebirth of humankind through Jesus Christ.   No less than St. Augustine first described Our Lord’s Resurrection as a chick bursting from an egg.  Quickly, it became an honored practice to exchange eggs at Easter that had been dyed red as reminiscent of the Saving Blood of Christ.

According to tradition, however, St. Mary Magdalen finagled an audience with the emperor of Rome after Our Lord’s Passion and Resurrection.  She denounced Pilate for his handling of Jesus’ trial and then began to witness to Caesar with the hope of converting him.  She picked a hen’s egg from the dinner table to illustrate the truth.  Caesar was unmoved and replied that there was as much chance of a human being rising from the grave as there was for an egg to turn red.  Immediately, the egg turned red in Mary’s Hand!

Decorating and coloring eggs for Easter was the custom in England during the Middle Ages.  But it had long been a practice in the eastern Christian communities which perfected intricate patterns and colors all to express the joyfulness of life overcoming death.  In fact, a number of our own parishioners have mastered the tedious art of Pysanky and your priests are recipients of their masterful work – another wonderful way to celebrate:  Christ is Risen, Alleluia!

With Blessings,

Father Langan

Message from Father Langan, April 10-11

April 10-11, 2021

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We are indeed people of the Resurrection.  Though the worlds greatest even occurred on a specific day in history, we live it every day of our lives.  Over the next seven weeks (a week of weeks), we commemorate the Great 50 days  which culminates on the Feast of Pentecost.  All of us who have been Confirmed experienced our own Pentecost when the Third Person of the Most Blessed Trinity descended upon us bringing the Seven-fold gifts.  In just a few weeks, 18 of our young parishioners will be receiving the Gifts of the Holy Spirit bestowed through the imposition of hands by our Ordinary, Bishop Bambera.  The candidates have been preparing diligently for this day and we support them by our prayers and fraternity.  They are to be commended for the good works they did during Holy Week in preparing and delivering Easter meals for many in our community.  May they continue to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in giving what they have received.

This Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday.  We take the time to contemplate the compassionate Heart of our Savior and the every abundant mercy that endlessly flows from His Heart.  We shall have a special service celebrating Divine Mercy beginning at 2:30PM in St. John’s.  Confessions will be heard at 2:00PM before the service.  There will be Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, Adoration, and devotions until the 3 0’Clock hour and the chanting of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, concluding with sung Vespers and Benediction.  Granted by Mother Church on this day is a special plenary indulgence for those who offer prayers for the Pope, make a good Confession 20 days before or after the Feast day, seek to detach oneself from sin and devotedly receive Holy Communion.

Finally, I wish to express my profound gratitude to those who have made our Holy Week and Easter worship so uplifting and deeply spiritual.  Much work is done “behind the scenes” by those who would recoil should I mention their names.  Our Lord, of course, knows who you are and my words of thanks are miniscule compared to His recognizing your good works.

Let us continue to keep the Feast in joy and gladness.

With Blessings,

Father Langan

Easter Message from Father Langan

April 3-4, 2021

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Regularly my nephews and niece send pictures and videos of the babies in our family.  The little ones are at that point now when they start to babble, it’s as if they are trying to speak, but their “words” are incoherent.  Nonetheless there is something being conveyed, mysterious though it be.  Trying to convey the same enthusiasm regarding the Resurrection of Our Lord leaves us somewhat speechless or perhaps wordless.  We rejoice in, we believe in, we ponder a mystery that is difficult to explain, yet absolutely true.  Jesus Christ has conquered sin and death and fulfilled the promise that eternal life is our destiny.  The fulfillment of that destiny can only be arrived at when we join our individual Passover with the Passover of Christ.

In his mercy and love for us, Christ gives us every necessary help (grace), most especially through the Sacraments, to complete the journey to our real homeland.  The living waters of Baptism following from His wounded heart set us on a course destined for that eternal shore.  Sometimes those waters may be rough and perilous, but the Savior is always within us.  He unburdens us just as He unburdened the frightening disciples on that first Easter Sunday night as he breathed the Holy Spirit upon them and forgave them their sins.  He nourishes weary spirits, and because of the pandemic this past year, there are indeed many weary spirits.  There is a famine in the land and across the globe since innumerable souls have not been fed with He Who is the Bread of Life.  Sadly, people do not even realize they are starving.  I don’t mean physically, but spiritually.  At least, because of our ability to livestream the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, there is some nourishment for souls in the hearing of the Word of God.  But Christ has given us more, much more in the Holy Eucharist, for as He said: “Unless you eat My Flesh and drink My Blood, you will have no life within you”.

May the power of Our Lord’s Resurrection conquer the evil of the pandemic, restore our parish family life with the return to Holy Mass of our fellow parishioners and once again and always renew the life of all who proclaim:  Jesus Christ is Lord!

A Blessed Easter to all,

Father Langan